You’re at home (obviously). Your children are watching television (loudly). Your dog is desperate to see daylight. And after so many weeks in confinement, your partner’s every move appears to be a cause for irritation.
Yet in a matter of minutes, you’re going to to be leading or attending your very first online meeting. The virtual world has entered your home, and you’re not quite sure what to do with it. Your professional integrity is at stake. It’s a potentially daunting prospect.
Ensure your meeting runs smoothly with our guide
Fear not. We’ve put together a handy guide on the steps you can take to create the professional, remote office.
Whether you’re catching up with colleagues, presenting to clients or interviewing on webcam, here’s (almost) everything you need to know.
Choose the right platform
Technology is freely available but the ‘right’ tool depends on you. Do you need to share your screen? How long is the meeting? How many people will attend? Get to know your Zoom from your Google Hangout, by selecting the software before you need to use it.
Pass the test
You must test your web application in advance of any meeting. Many platforms will ask you to grant audio access, share your screen and/or webcam permissions. And in some cases, you may need to restart your system. Technical issues can’t be completely avoided, but you can reduce the likelihood of them occurring.
A quick sound check with your microphone and headphones should make sure the audio is right, but never assume everyone can hear you – always ask your audience. Ideally, choose a carpeted room to avoid echoes and switch off any unnecessary devices. It will maximise your bandwidth and prevent any ill-timed calls.
Think about where you’re sitting and get comfortable; you’re going to be here for a while. Make sure you have the right seating, the room is well lit, and your laptop or PC is positioned appropriately (don’t use a ‘phone). Take a comfort break before the meeting and prepare refreshments in advance.
An awkwardly positioned camera can be off-putting. No one wants to look up your nose. Make sure your webcam is at eye level so your image will look more natural. And try to look at your camera when speaking or presenting to others, rather than staring at your screen.
It’s behind you
Think carefully about what your setting and be sure to avoid visual background distractions. Professional looking plants and pictures or a bookcase to advertise your intellectual credentials is preferable to loud wallpaper and a misplaced dressing gown. What people see may shape how they think of you.
Dress to impress
You may be at home, but it’s no excuse to let your standards drop. The Hawaiian shirt should be left in the wardrobe. Dress as if you were meeting in person, it will help you to adopt the right frame of mind. And don’t think you can get away with just the top half either. Exposing those sweatpants could be career suicide.
Agree on an agenda
The badly-planned virtual meeting can result in chaos. Avoid wasted time by agreeing on a schedule in advance, determine what each participant is responsible for and have any relevant documents or files to hand. It will allow you to manage the virtual space more efficiently.
Adhere to etiquette
If you’re leading the meeting, introduce everyone, give them a task in advance and allow them space to contribute. Speak loud and clearly, use the mute button when you’re not talking and try not to interrupt others. Avoid staring at your ‘phone when people are presenting. If your camera is on, they will notice.
Make space for casual conversation to build rapport and keep everyone engaged. Unlike face-to-face forums, you will need to be intentional in creating it. And involve all participants, including those who aren’t as vocal. Using online documents gives the chance to add thoughts, insights, and suggestions after the meeting has ended.
Don’t forget to take your meeting seriously
Also remember to take your virtual meeting as seriously and thoughtfully as you would if meeting someone in-person and you will be perceived as a digitally-savvy professional of value, whether virtual or face-to-face.
At Barques, we’re still fully operational across all services. Whether you want to ramp up your marketing activity or are using this time to focus on your website, we’re here for you, just get in touch.